A South African traditional 'healer', who ordered the brutal murder of a 39-year-old Indian-origin woman in 2014, has been sentenced to life.
According to officials, Sibonakaliso Mbili, PTI reports, had enlisted the help of one Falakhe Khumalo, the fourth co-accused in the case to bring him the head of an "Indian, white or a coloured woman". He wanted to use it for illegal witchcraft purposes.
The healer even offered 2 million Rand (USD 153,000) to Khumalo for the job.
Khumalo, in turn, took the help of three youths, Jimmy Stanley Thelejala, Mlungisi Ndlovu and Mbali Magwala, to finish the task.
While Khumalo, who has admitted to the crime, is serving a life sentence, Thelejala and Ndlovu are serving a 15-year sentence. Magwala, however, has been awarded 12 years imprisonment because he only selected the victim and did not take part in the murder, the reports adds.
A horrific murder
In 2014, the four people lured Desiree Murugan, a sex worker, to a sports stadium in Chatsworth, Durban before stabbing her nearly 200 times and then beheading her.
Her body was found by municipal workers in August at the Shallcross Sports stadium in Chatsworth and her head was discovered a few days later in Infume, on the Durban South Coast, The Sun reported.
Khumalo also told the police that Mbili had given him seven portion of "muti" made from tree roots which, the healer told him, would make them brave and even protect them from police.
According to the postmortem report, The Sun report added, Murugan had suffered 195 stab wounds and was likely to be conscious when she was beheaded.
A 2015 report in The Citizen stated that Khumalo while describing the events of the day of the murder, told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court that he along with one of the co-accused, had put the severed head in a backpack and travelled in a minibus to deliver it to the healer.
When Mlibi received the head, he was "extremely excited".
"When Khumalo gave evidence yesterday, he looked relaxed. He seemed able to remember every detail of what happened on the night in question. He told the court how he lured Murugan to a sports field and gave details how the men chopped off her head after he 'paid her for sex'," the report stated.
The victim's sister Jeanette Murugan, in her statement, called Desiree a good and kind person and said that their family could never forget the brutality of the crime for the rest of their lives, The Sun reported.